John Minnis Estate Agents has reported a 20 per cent growth in sales in 2020 (compared to 2019), which in large part is due to the number of people relocating to live in Northern Ireland.
The award-winning property firm says that sales have steadily increased since June 2020, particularly from Great Britain, and that the stamp duty holiday has “attracted much-needed inward investment for the economy, which needs an extension of at least six months.”
John Minnis, Managing Director of the firm which has 37 staff across four branches (Belfast, Holywood, Donaghadee and Comber), with plans to recruit a further three, explains: “The Northern Ireland property market right now is strong, which is a trend we hope to see continuing for the foreseeable future.
“What we have experienced since mid-June is a surge in demand, in part from being closed for three months, particularly from the UK family market, which is helping bolster the economy when we need it most.
“Right now, more than ever before, the Northern Ireland economy needs to reap the benefits of people relocating from across the world to live here, and those in positions of power need to do all they can to support that.
“The stamp duty holiday has certainly contributed to this growth and one we would like to see extended.
“A buoyant housing market drives consumer confidence in the wider economy, something which is much needed as we navigate our way out of Covid-19.
“There is now the added pressure to complete transactions by 31 March 2021 in order to benefit from the changes to Stamp Duty. I don’t feel this will have a huge impact on our local market but may deter our UK clients.
“Whilst the average stamp duty saving on a sale of a family home in Belfast may be anywhere from £2.5-£15K. In England, with their higher property prices it can be anywhere between from £15-£40K, and beyond, which could be a deal breaker.
“Any extension or gradual phasing out of the Stamp Duty holiday would be very welcome across the entire industry, to allow us to catch up and process the level of enquiries and sales at present.
“Lifestyle is a major contributor to this surge in sales locally. People continue to put a high priority on their home and their quality of life is now a top priority for people which has led to a migration from many big cities, particularly London. Many companies are now planning remote working into their future plans, and people can now work from their home office in Northern Ireland whilst keeping their UK or international jobs and salary.”
According to PwC’s latest Future of Government report, Rethinking Levelling-Up, Northern Ireland, came out on top as the place most people were likely to recommend it as a good place to bring up a family.
“Lower house prices, more space indoors and out, our lower cost of living, the exceptional schooling system, the short commute time to two airports, combined with the ability to be in the city or countryside within a short ten-minute drive means that we are now well and truly on the radar of people wanting a better lifestyle for themselves and their family.
“Brexit, and our unique position as part of the UK with a border to the EU, means that we are now a very attractive proposition to business people. This combined with the raw talent pool of professionals that can compete with anyone in the world, means that businesses are setting up shop here more than ever.”
The latest RICS Survey shows that Regional Sales Expectations over the next three months Northern Ireland is set to out-perform the rest of the UK.
“The RICS survey prediction is absolutely no surprise to me. It is a trend we are seeing day and daily, in fact in order to keep up with demand we hired five new staff over the past eight months and are set to recruit a further three with immediate effect.
John concluded: “We as an industry look forward to the continued growth of the Northern Ireland property market from the UK and the rest of the world, which, if supported correctly including an extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday, could truly help with the much-needed economic recovery of Northern Ireland.”
John Minnis is a member of The Guild of Property Professionals which gives them direct and immediate contact with the widest possible pool of buyers across the whole of the UK including the lucrative London market, where its properties are marketed through The Guild’s head office in Park Lane.
Visit www.johnminnis.co.uk for further details.